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Cody Bell, Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
From right, Elder Kim B. Clark, Elder Craig C. Christensen and President J. Lawrence Richards walk outside the Tabernacle on Temple Square prior to LDS Business College graduation on April 14.

"Small and simple things" are often the solution to many — if not all — of the issues a person faces in life, Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy told LDS Business College graduates during commencement on April 14.

“Graduating from LDS Business College is no small thing,” he said. “At the same time, I know from my own experiences — and therefore I must testify — that going forward, it will be the small and simple things — daily scripture study, worshiping in the temple often, and your personal obedience and devotion — that will invite the Spirit into your lives.”

In the Tabernacle on Temple Square, Elder Christensen addressed this year’s graduating class honoring students earning 548 two-year degrees and 113 certificates and their supporters. Although the majority of students continue to come from Utah, LDS Business College has students from nearly 60 countries and all U.S. states. Graduates range in age from 18 to 67.

Also in attendance was Elder Kim B. Clark, General Authority Seventy and Commissioner of Education for the Church, who was accompanied by his wife, Sister Sue Clark. Elder Christensen's wife, Sister Debbie Christensen, also attended.

In his remarks, Elder Christensen used the brass ball type of compass, the Liahona in the Book of Mormon, as an example of a “heaven-sent GPS.”

“The most amazing aspect of the Liahona was that it responded based on the ‘faith and diligence’ of Lehi and his family,” he said. “It only worked properly when they were humble and obedient to the Lord. …

“Nephi was reminding us that God rarely asks us to do grand, dramatic things in order to experience His mighty miracles. Most often it is the small, simple, day-to-day acts of obedience and faithfulness that ‘bring about great things’ in our lives.”

The Liahona is only one example of simple obedience, the leader taught. Elder Christensen shared the examples of Naaman and the children of Israel in the Old Testament, pointing out that although the Lord had provided a solution, the people questioned the simple answer.

“As taught in scripture, man’s thoughts are different than God’s thoughts,” he said. “Most of the time, we approach issues very differently than perhaps God would. When we have a big, complex problem, we tend to want a big, complex solution. It seems counterintuitive, but most of the time, the most powerful solutions come to us in very small and simple ways. ..."

He spoke of Naaman, captain of the Syrian king's army, who "was wroth" when Elisha gave what seemed to be simple instructions to wash seven times in the river to be cured of leprosy. (See 2 Kings 5:1-19.)

“Do we suffer from the same affliction as Naaman and the children of Israel? As life’s problems get more and more complex, do we begin to doubt — or even just neglect — the small and simple solutions the Lord has provided?”

Important to the “small and simple” things is the direction that comes from the gift of the Holy Ghost.

As a person is “blessed with the gift of the Holy Ghost” they are able to find comfort in the midst of trials and tragedies, have access to light and knowledge beyond the wisdom of men, and the ability to live with faith and hope in an age of doubt and cynicism. The Holy Ghost helps people avoid spiritual danger in their lives and helps hearts to be purified, desires to be elevated and natures to be changed.

“Brothers and sisters, do we have faith that the Holy Ghost can do all of these things?” he asked. “And do we have faith that our simple, consistent, daily efforts and acts of obedience can bring this miracle into our lives? The Holy Ghost will speak to you in small and simple ways, but this is no small and simple gift.”

In order to face the future successfully, a person needs the constant companionship, guidance and protection of the Holy Ghost, Elder Christensen taught.

“My invitation to each of you as you begin this new season of life is that you dedicate your best efforts to seeking spiritual experiences every day and following the impressions that will inevitably come. As you do, your priorities will always be aligned with heaven, and you will be inspired in what you say and do.”

In his last assignment as LDS Business College president, President J. Lawrence Richards — who had served as the 12th president of the college since Dec. 9, 2008, — conducted the commencement and shared brief remarks. Dr. Bruce C. Kusch became the college's 13th president on April 17.

“I encourage you to seek to understand what Father in Heaven would have you do with the gift of education that you have now received,” said President Richards. “I promise it has something to do with your role in the Lord’s hastening of His work. I promise it will have something to do with building up the Kingdom wherever you go. Be ready to answer the call as it comes to you. Stay true to what you have learned, and what you have felt.”

Don L. Ipson, an LDS Business College student from 1966-1968 and who is known for his leadership in banking, business and Utah government over the last few decades, was honored with the college’s highest recognition — the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Student speakers were Cassidy Toyn and Baylea Jones and the college's choir provided musical numbers during the event.

For graduate Andrew Auna, commencement represents years of hard work and the beginning of the next chapter in his education.

"I didn't know if I could succeed and now I know I can do to hard things," he said. "If I work hard I can do anything."

mholman@desnews.com @marianne_holman

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